Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We've been on holidays.....

Yes we went away. Only on a quick long weekend adventure as it was Labour Day weekend and we all took Tuesday off school/work to make it an extra day longer!! The main thing that was achieved this weekend was spending quality time with the four of us before the busy months of March and April kick in.....

Saturday morning we left and made our way to Halls Gap, where we stayed in a cabin (with spa ensuite) at The Grampian Gardens Tourist Park. Halls Gap is approximately 3 and a half hours from home but we had a really good drive there. Noel and I hadn't been up that way for quite some time so we were actually surprised by the new freeways etc, and how shorter the journey actually ended up being.

Halls Gap is a beautiful town set amongst The Grampians, a mountain range in North West Victoria. There is a lot to do from bush walks, viewing waterfalls, aboriginal art along with winery tours, a zoo and even mini golf. The Grampians Gardens Tourist Park was also really nice. As I mentioned we upgraded to a spa cabin, but the cabins themselves were very clean and well maintained. We had a little verandah were every morning we feed cockatoos, kangaroos and emus which pleased the kids no end.

Once we had settled into our cabin on Saturday afternoon, we went for a look around town mainly to get a feel for the place but to also work out where we would eat for dinner that night. I was given "time off" from cooking dinners so we did eat out every night and had some wonderful meals. The first night we ate at The Kookaburra Restaurant in Halls Gap where I had a magnificent meal, Kangaroo Fillet with a Caramelized Port, Cream and Seeded Mustard Sauce and Noel had the Duo of Pork, Chargrilled pork fillet with slow-baked spare rib served with an apple, lime and ginger sauce. Both of us really enjoyed these meals, and the kids enjoyed their meals also which made it very tempting to return there for the next two nights but we didn't!!

Sunday we had a full day driving around The Grampians. We started the day off in Stawell where we visited the Information Centre. We then went to the Stawell Gold Mine Observation Area which was very interesting and as the Gold Mine was in operation it was good to watch also. I have actually been inside the Gold Mine when I was working for Beltreco, but they do not do public tours now. From Stawell we drove through the The Grampians following the scenic route. This was good as we stopped at all the lookouts and even went to McKenzies Falls. McKenzies Falls is magnificent even though it's quite a hike down and back up again. In fact Alex suggested that they put an elevator at the bottom!!

The Halls Gap Bistro was our dinner venue Sunday night, which was okay and only 500 metres from the caravan park. Driving through the caravan park at night it was wonderful to see kangaroos and emu's just grazing through the grounds and oblivious to the fact humans were there.

Monday we ensure it was a fun day for the kids. Starting off at the Halls Gap Zoo and Wildlife Park we had a ball. The kids love animals, so of course they loved this place. I have to say it was well set out and relaxing to walk around. The Chameleon kept the kids entertained for quite a while as they were amazed with it's eyes. Both eyes are completely independent of each other and they can be pointed in different directions - funny to watch really I have to admit. The whole park was good, feeding the animals as we walked around but Alex didn't really liked being stalked by the deers who seemed to follow anyone with food! A quick stop for lunch at the Halls Gap Bakery and then it was on to 18 holes of Adventure Golf. That was good fun also, I cannot say that the scores were acurately written down especially as the ball was hit even if it hadn't stopped rolling - yes a little cheating happening here and there I think.

For dinner Monday evening we ate at Mings Oriental at the National Hotel in Stawell which was a Chinese and Australian Restaurant within a wonderful old hotel. It was the type of place you wouldn't expect to find, if you know what I mean? An Aussie Pub, where you walk through the lounge area to see a couple of regulars propped up at the bar drinking their pots of beer. Through the door to the dining room you entered an old style dining room with a little servery and this massive chalk written menu half filled with Chinese style dishes and the other classic Aussie dishes such as steak and chips, parma and chips, etc. We had the Chinese banquet and everyone enjoyed that. All the individual meals were good including the Mongolian Combination, Sizzling Garlic Prawns but Noel and I really enjoyed the Beef with Lemongrass and Chilli (we even got a choice of the temperature scale 1 - 14! We chose 10 and that was quite hot!) As you can tell we would recommend both these restaurants if you are ever in the area!

We packed up early Tuesday morning and was planning to spend the day doing something around Ballarat. The weather, however, had different plans with a fine drizzle meaning doing anything outside was off the cards. Instead we drove home, stopping for lunch at McDonald's much to the kids delight.

Reality set in Wednesday morning when we were back at work and school.....

My Family from

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